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Hashtag Class http://www.hashtagclass.com Thu, 12 Jul 2012 13:17:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 #rank teleconference info http://www.hashtagclass.com/rank/rank-teleconference-info/ http://www.hashtagclass.com/rank/rank-teleconference-info/#respond Thu, 30 Dec 2010 18:46:30 +0000 http://www.hashtagclass.com/?p=180

We have no idea how well this will work, but we are going to try. If you can't make it to #rank, but want to participate, call in to our teleconference. The phone number and access code are listed below. Please note the teleconference will be recorded. Date and Time: Thu 12/30/2010 06:00 PM (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada) Conference Access Number: 1-218-339-0643 Conference Passcode: 341520# ]]>
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#rank Miami Discussion at Winkleman Gallery http://www.hashtagclass.com/rank/rank-miami-discussion-at-winkleman-gallery/ http://www.hashtagclass.com/rank/rank-miami-discussion-at-winkleman-gallery/#respond Sun, 26 Dec 2010 22:00:55 +0000 http://www.hashtagclass.com/?p=179

One thing we were not able to realize at #rank as much as we would have liked was to have lively (contentious), open-ended (informal) discussions about art fair culture. We are also interested in the connections between the fairs, the market, and more broadly to cultural production. In that spirit, we are hosting a post-#rank discussion at Winkleman Gallery on Thursday, December 30th, from 6-9pm. We are particularly interested in hearing your thoughts about the recent Miami art fair week, in whatever capacity you experienced them (ABMB VIP or avid AFC reader). We'd like to discuss those cultural, social, and artistic stratifications made plainly (and painfully) transparent during the art fairs. It's not like these hierarchies don't exist everywhere, but they become more diffuse and easier to ignore back here in New York for us. We'd like to have this discussion before the pressures of life make Miami fade into the background. We began #class and #rank as a shared response to our own ambivalence about participating in the art market. We had trouble articulating what the conflicts were, so we opened up that exploration and discussion to many other perspectives in search of answers (however idealistically). At their core, #class and #rank are personal arguments made public. We hope they have been and continue to be useful in starting to identify and understand the terms of the arguments that divide and define the contemporary art world. It's a big place, but everyone has their role, whether or not it's the one they want. We hope you can make it! All best, J & B ]]>
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Feeling #rank (Part 3) http://www.hashtagclass.com/rank/feeling-rank-part-3/ http://www.hashtagclass.com/rank/feeling-rank-part-3/#respond Tue, 21 Dec 2010 03:05:40 +0000 http://www.hashtagclass.com/?p=177

In my original post about #rank, I argued that there were too many events going on back to back without enough time for reflection. Having time to casually discuss what we were attempting to do at #class, as I've said, was an important access point for visitors. Another thing that also helped people drop their defenses was beer. I know it doesn't sound like much, or that maybe we both have drinking problems, but turning a commercial gallery into a 'think space' took a little more than putting chalkboard paint on the walls. We also had to find other ways to make such a passive environment into an active social space. It turned out that most people who came to our discussions were more than happy to have a beer, or six. It wasn't a raging party by any means, most people had to work the next day or had grown comfortable with the booze industry's refrain "enjoy responsibly." As #rank approached, Hrag Vartanian wrote "Mandie's is the coolest art project in New York." I didn't know what Mandie's was, but I quickly found out that Andrew Ohanesian had built a compact, ostensibly two-person bar at Arch Space in Bushwick. I ended up at Mandie's late one night with Jade Townsend after some openings in Bushwick. We crowded into the tiny bar with a rather large group of people. I think I counted 13 at one point, but then again, I was wasted and had started arm-wrestling various patrons. Eventually, with Andrew's encouragement, I punched a hole through the wall. The next day, my torn up knuckles and terrible hangover reminded me what a great time I had at Mandie's. I immediately told Jen about the bar, hoping that maybe we could convince Andrew to bring the project to #rank. Jen and I had already budgeted about $500 for beer for #rank, and Mandie's came ready-made with a refrigerated keg on tap. When Ed visited Mandie's on a tour of a few spaces in Bushwick led by Austin Thomas and Jason Andrew, he thought it would be a fantastic idea. Andrew was also incredibly enthusiastic, and agreed to get Mandie's to SEVEN and become part of #rank. Down in Miami, Mandie's was without a doubt, one of the coolest things at SEVEN. I have no proof that it was one of the best installations in Miami, since I only saw Aqua for an hour on Wednesday night, but I'd make that assertion anyway. Mandie's provided exactly what a good bar should, a quiet place during the day to hide from the world for a beer and a private chat with and old friend (or a total stranger depending on were you are at with your alcoholism). During one of the days at #rank, I had the pleasure of talking with Helen Toomer, a former assistant director at PULSE and Dylan Fareed of Artlog. Having caused a bit of disruption at PULSE in 2008 with Jade at our Lemonade Stand, I was a bit apprehensive around Helen, but it turned out she no longer worked at PULSE. We had a nice discussion about the fairs and shared a bit of gossip over beers. If #rank had that same vibe, which could have benefited from a room with an entrance and exit, I'm sure there would have been more opportunities for such informal and informative discussions. While the option to hold #rank upstairs at SEVEN was an option, we did not want to ghettoize the project, and remain a part of the the fair. I just found that the balance between public and private titled a little too much towards display. Mandie's was an ideal environment for talking about art and the fairs, not because it is an awesome dive bar, but because it is art. It's impossible not to think about what art is and can be when you find yourself transported by simply stepping through a doorway. I told Andrew and his assistants, Pedro and E-man, that I loved Mandie's so much, because I felt like it had been built for me (I hope everyone feels like that about art once in a while, too bad I can't afford Mandie's). Partly because I like to drink beers, alot, but also because I tried to build a little two-person bar-themed confessional in 2005 for Parker's Box IAM5. It was sort of amazing to see a fully-realized version of a what amounted to a 3-D sketch on my part. Andrew's skill-set puts mine to shame, and if I ever try to re-stage the artist's confessional, he's the first person I'd want to talk to about creating it right. The authenticity of Mandie's was a major part of what made people grin in awe then drink a beer and stay awhile. Speaking as an artist, I learned from Andrew how far you can take an idea from conception. Unfortunately, we never had time to arm wrestle down in Miami. That's my only regret about the project. Well, that and the kegerator Andrew scoured Miami for broke down after the first day resulting in some seriously foamy beer for the last two days of #rank. Aside from Mandie's we also hosted four durational project 'stands' at #rank. Sean Naftel's Free Art Stand was a major success, giving away over 150 pieces of art by unknown and emerging artists. He told me a South American artist who contributed work to the project sells his prints for $3,000. Sean was dealing a range of excellent work for free, and I could hear him talking about the artists and their work all day. He even managed to place a triptych with a MoMA curator who said she was donating it to the permanent collection. For me, personally, that is an amazing success for Sean's project and the artists who donated their work to the project. It wasn't just a free art stand, but a place where price ceased to matter in relation to how the collector or perhaps more appropriately, the caretaker, valued the work. I didn't get any details if there were any conditions to taking work from the art stand, but it allowed a large number of artists to have their works placed with art dealers, other artists, serious collectors, and maybe people who wouldn't have been able to afford the art being offered at most of the fairs. For the majority of people in Miami, even a hundred dollars can break the bank. I mean, a new washing machine can be had for $700 dollars. Once art gets past the price of major appliances, it's easy to see how sticker shock can set in, "How much?! For that?! What the fuck is it?!" Regardless, the art fairs are not aimed at middle class wage earners, and the reverse may also hold true for certain collectors; if the art is not sufficiently expensive, then it must not be important enough. Without getting into the thorny debate about artists deserving to be paid for their labor, I think Sean's stand was all about access and getting some artists past the border patrol of the art fairs. Jen and I made it a point with #class and #rank to try and keep it from turning into a salon style group show of frustrated visual artists. We didn't really want their 'art', rather we wanted their frustration, experience, and ideas related to the hierarchy of the art world. Sean was able to 'sneak in' a large number of artists and used the pre-text of the art stand and the lure of 'free stuff' to engage the audience. It worked, quite brilliantly, and I am hoping to post the list of artists who had work placed through the free art stand. While the project may not support artists economically, it may have fulfilled other affective needs like the desire to be recognized and have their art reach an audience. In a similar vein to Sean's project, Destineez Child set up a booth of unusual, low-fi art 'products' at bake sale prices. I apologize to Destineez Child for never taking a moment on the hectic first day to talk with them. Again, this was a downside of the schedule, something was always happening at #rank that dragged me away every time I got curious about the funky table behind us. It's also a bit disappointing that I also didn't see as many collectors engage Destineez Child, perhaps because even the nominal prices kept them at arm's length. It's absolutely crucial to note that even a $5 dollar price tag seemed to be a psychological barrier for the audience, but perhaps that was the point for Destineez Child. Their campy art products seemed designed to bring the lofty assumptions about what art is back down to earth through their playful display. It was pretty hilarious to see paper plates stuck on our #rank column with handwritten prices. It was evident by the lack of interaction with the fairgoers that Destineez Child's humorous take on art and commerce seemed to keep the fairgoers at a distance, which may not be bad thing. It added to the tension between between the art and the commerce taking place all around us. The other table/booth projects that took place on the last day of #rank were Sarada Rauch and Barish Gorkturk's Guidance Counselor table and Identifier Corp's Hello My Name Is artist re-branding station. Both projects engaged the public on Saturday, and I was able to participate briefly in both, although I will have to recover my re-branded identity on the Identifier Corp website. I can't remember what absurd name I got, but they were all pretty hilarious. Identifier Corp was run by two artists going by the names Pumkin Folgers and Corduroy Jackson. I also happen to know both artists real names from our shared time as undergraduates at Syracuse University, but pre-branded is no brand. According to Pumkin, Identifier Corp handed out nearly 200 new artistic identities through their proprietary database. The artists were giving out name tags with the memorable names that seem to be a prerequisite for contemporary artists; Banks Violette, Cory Arcangel, Banksy, Blu, Slater Bradley, Dash Snow, or whatever combination of sounds that evoke privilege, skateparks, and video games. Thankfully, I've already been tagged with a phonetic interpretation of a Slavic handle by some well-intentioned Catholic nuns in upstate New York seventy years ago. That accidental re-invention seems appropriate to Identifier Corps project, which gels nicely with one thing Jen and I learned at class "Don't be boring." Unfortunately, my partner-in-crime goes by the boarding school handle, Dalton, but still manages to find numerous ways of subverting any expectations of such a well-heeled name. But, boarding school and Miami share some things in common; gossip, cliques, peer pressure, and the never-ending quest to be 'cool'. Those pressures were the subject of Sarada and Barish's Guidance Counselor table, where they shared intimate conversations with the audience. Seriously, you had to put on eye-glass frames (so no one could see you) and talk through a plastic tube to ensure privacy in the open environment. I won't share the content of my conversation with Sarada, but it was a much necessary conversation that I really needed at that moment. Despite the humorous framing and communication devices, the talk was emotional; part therapy-session, part tough-love. In some way, the short time I sat with Sarada and Barish, I realized that the conversation we were having was not happening around us. It would have been a major accomplishment if we could have carved out a space that could have allowed for such unguarded, empathetic talk that I had with Sarada. I don't think we could have ever achieved the kind of intimacy that Sarada and Barish rather brilliantly hosted through very modest means, but it was a project that I imagine could have spanned the entire duration of #rank, providing people with the necessary excuse to really say what they were feeling. The art fair week in Miami prompts any number of emotional reactions from people, as they encounter the social sorting that separates the haves from the have nots. I believe Jen actually saw two people crying during their private sessions. I don't think that is an uncommon emotional reaction to the aggressive sorting that forces people to acknowledge where they are in the social and cultural hierarchy of the art world. You can't pretend that the art world is an egalitarian place when you don't have a VIP card or your name on the right list for the best, most important parties with beautiful people. Sarada and Barish also provided some handouts for trying to make unsense out of the pressures facing the miami fairgoer. It was, for me, a very generous project that I would highly recommend to anyone willing to address their own feelings of inadequecy and lack that the fairs cultivate so well. Anyway, I've been protesting censorship today, but there are more events to reflect on at #rank that I will continue in this series of posts leading up to and beyond our #rank discussion to be generously hosted by Edward Winkleman at his gallery December 30th. We will have details regarding the follow-up soon. ]]>
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Feeling #rank (Part 2), The Ideas… http://www.hashtagclass.com/rank/feeling-rank-part-2-the-ideas/ http://www.hashtagclass.com/rank/feeling-rank-part-2-the-ideas/#comments Sun, 12 Dec 2010 03:01:53 +0000 http://www.hashtagclass.com/?p=174

Nic Rad performing "Bringing My Talents to South Beach" Now that I've given myself and Jen Dalton a critique about how we shaped #rank, I want to turn the discussion away from the structure towards what actually happened.  I'm going to work through the events based purely on my subjective recollection of the events regardless of chronology.  It's my personal form of ranking the events, but this is not a critique of the works in any formal sense.  It's how I experienced them in the context of my previous post and what they meant to me as both organizer and a participant.  It should be also noted that I usually started drinking beers around 2pm. The event that I am still thinking about right now is Greg Allen's lecture on the gala as art.  The presentation was like a roller-coaster ride of visceral reactions for me as the subject is also of special interest for me, and has been the subject of several works including ABMB Hooverville and Institutional Celebration.  What made Greg's lecture so delightful and infuriating was the casual way he expressed his familiarity with the art world's gala culture of self-congratulation.  He delivered his lecture with a knowing smile, pausing at times to simply let the audience take in the absurdity of the images like Marina Abramovic having her Oscar moment at the closing of The Artist is Present or Jeffery Deitch piloting Dakis's yacht with a shit-eating grin.   I got the impression from the way Greg spoke that he has probably been to more art dinners, parties, and of course galas than he would like.  Several times during the lecture I couldn't stifle the "What the fucks?" and "Is that for real?" as Greg gave a brief historical overview of the artworld's attempts to commodify everything, including performance art, starting with Alan Kaprow's CBS funded "Happening", which apparently was a disaster and induced Kaprow to give up on them and move to the west coast to start a new chapter in his career.  Greg's lecture seemed evenly split between the efforts of artists he clearly admires like Rirkrit Tiravanija who he lovingly referred to as a "hippie" and Andrea Fraiser's interventions into the social practices of the of the museum with those of artists like Abramovic whose recent works have passed into a realm of solipsism so vast that it has actually taken a part of the art world with it.  He included silver-leafed, candy lips in his swag bags to reference the gold-leafed chocolate lips that Abramovic presented at her gala closing dinner that were meant to 'aesthecize her sprirituality' or some nonsense. Feminists call that 'fetishizing the body'.   Watching the lecture, I couldn't help but lose whatever respect I had left for an influential performance artist gone the way of the pharaohs. The apparent focus of the lecture, though, was on the gala that Doug Aitken 'produced' for MoCA.  Greg wanted to provide audio of a clearly disinterested and perhaps annoyed Aitken dismissing Deitch's salesmanship of the gala as a unifying medium, but it had recently been redacted online.  Still, Greg had transcribed the unflattering audio, which he read to the audience.  From what I understood, Aitken may have rather brilliantly pulled one over on MoCA and the gala as an art movement by framing the event through the historical divisions among the monied elite in Los Angeles.  Where Greg lost me, though, was with his admiration for Jennifer Rubell's Creation feast in the former DIA space last winter.  He seemed to genuinely feel like Rubell had produced the most interesting gala related art piece to date by making the excess of traditional gala visible all at once for the audience.  I don't believe for a second that Rubell's intentions were to critique the gala, but to be provocative and novel for an audience used to black-tie, celebrity-studded, red carpet affairs. Greg did point out that the Rubell's made their fortune in the hospitality industry, further confirming by belief that she works without a sense of self-awareness or irony, and is truly sincere about her works.  She just happens to be loaded and incredibly privileged making her the perfect vehicle for the work she creates.  She is truly a product of the art world elite and the most qualified person to serve them brunch. One of the funniest moments in the lecture, though, was his story about how Naomi Campbell started a riot by snatching up a complete set of Takashi Murakami place mats, egged on by Tom Ford at some gala a few years back.  The anecdote revealed the petty carelessness and entitlement of the ruling class.  His lecture and slideshow were one of the most unflattering depictions of celebrity and wealth that I have ever witnessed.  It was brilliant, and what only increased my respect of Greg was his ability to ignore some of the most distasteful aspects of gala culture and still approach his analysis with nuance.  He was able to suss out the art from the excess, marketing, and social inbreeding. Perhaps my inability to be so generous or understanding in my assessment of gala culture is that I am an artist and Greg is not.  He is an art lover, which is evident in the way he talks about art, but he doesn't have to compete with it.  For him, it something to digest, to take in, and he can afford to sit back and mock what he finds distasteful and talk about what he admires.  I loved the way he would dismissively say "he's a great guy," about art world superstars as he walked the edge of the high road, never careening down the side to the road I travel on through the art world.  Greg's lecture and slideshow is marvelous and covers much more than I am describing here.  It will be available online in the coming weeks and I urge everyone who has ever felt a wave of nausea upon seeing a picture of Guilty Pleasure or after spending too much time on the Artforum Diary (where Greg noted he got many of his dyptichs of people smiling so hard their faces look like they are about to break in half).  As a part of #rank, it was one of the most relevant events to our thesis, speaking directly about the top tier of the art world so busy celebrating its own achievements, it often fails to notice how fucking grotesque and insular it might appear to the people it purports to offer culture.  If I had to give any other justification for why this event is so clearly etched in my mind, it ruined the rest of the day for me.  I couldn't stop thinking about Abramovic perched up high like some sort of goddess, aestheticizing her 'spirituality'.  Right.  What I learned is is that not much has changed since F. Scott Fitzgerald made fun of rich people.  They are still careless with their wealth and power. The next thing I can't scrape out of my thoughts was Nic Rad's bravura reading of "Taking My Talents to South Beach", a scathing critique of social mobility as told through the perspective of Jeff Koon's sculpture "Three Ball Total Equalibrium" if the basketballs were played by by Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and a bizarre hybrid of LeBron James and Nic himself.  It was a sort of brilliant over-identification on Nic's part based on a shared home (Cleveland), privilege, and personal ambition.  I can't even begin to recap the narrative, but it bounced between pop culture, high-art, artistic ambition, failure, class and racial divisions, hip-hop, masculinity, and homophobia and a host of other paradoxes.  Nic matched the narrative acrobatics with his vocal performance, switching between the nasal, vaguely british accent that only very rich people have (think Mary Lou Whitney here) to the locker room slang of superstar atheletes back to his own speaking voice.  There may have been more, but I was lulled in and out of my reverie by the abrupt changes in cadence.  By the end of the performance Nic had managed to dissolve the artificial barriers between art and society by following the intertwined threads of money, power, and ego.  It was a brutal assessment, and Nic gamely took shots at everyone, including myself and Jen Dalton.  "Should I adapt an alter ego and hang out in Bushwick until someone includes me a more self loathing kind of ready made installation and then revel in a late career Bill Murray sort of revival where a monotone sadness does penance for the preposterousness of my youth? "  I could feel that one whistling past my ear. In my drawing "A Guide to the Market Oligopoly System" I depict the way the art market supports a handful of superstars, and by linking art to professional basketball Nic blurred the fuck out of any lines between Jeff Koons and LeBron James.  What it made apparent is that if Jeff Koons is LeBron James, then Jen, Nic, and I are playing ballball for the Aliaga Petkim in the Turkish Basketball league (otherwise known as SEVEN).  Nic's performance distilled some serious class and cultural rage into a very strange and disarming reading.  This is also one of the events where I really wished we had time to discuss what he did.  It was packed with puns and word games as Nic batted art speak, locker room slang, and poetry around.  I hope we get a chance to sit down with Nic at our upcoming #rank rehash and talk about what he dropped on the audience like a Blake Griffin dunk over a slow-footed 7-1 Russian whose name nobody will remember.  Truff. During the first full day of #rank performance artist Rebecca Goyette was walking around SEVEN in a red dress wearing lobster claws giving out hugs.  Rebecca is a street performer as well, and has done similar public performances.  Apparently, the dealers as SEVEN were extremely uncomfortable with Rebecca's curious presence because she was not constrained to our petting zoo.  Rebecca moved through the fair with her bizarre outfit making a whole lot of people really uncomfortable.  I believe that was the primary purpose of the performance, although Rebecca said she would be wearing her 'most professional attire' during the hug performance she described to us.  I think she was being sarcastic in retrospect, but ultimately, by the end of the first day of #rank we were informed that Rebecca could not continue the performance for a few hours on Friday as we had initially agreed upon.  Down the path of censorship we go, Down the path of misinterpretation we go, unfortunately it was left to Jen to break the news.  I would have done it, but apparently I was in the bar drinking beers or something.  Jen talked with Rebecca and asked if she was satisfied with having one full day at #rank, which is the longest anyone had for any project besides Mandie's (that project is going to require a separate chapter) and other stationary take-aways.  Rebecca indicated that it was cool with her, but really it wasn't.  She was upset that she was not welcomed by SEVEN and probably felt like we weren't supporting her project. If I or Jen had known she was upset, we would have said "fuck you," to the powers that be and kept Rebecca with us in the petting zoo area on Thursday if her presence made the art dealers too uncomfortable, which it did. She was wearing lobster claws with fake boobs.  It was quite an outfit.  Still, we didn't know and unfortunately, Rebecca mistook Jen's stressed-out, frazzled delivery as rudeness.  Jen is not rude, she is direct and candid, but never rude.  I feel terrible that we shut down Rebecca because of miscommunication, but in the end, her original performance was only scheduled for one hour, and we managed to have her present and freaking out the squares for 8 hours.  Anyway, Rebecca, we are sorry if it seemed like we weren't standing up for your project.  #rank was supposed to be about being different, not being square.  It was about lobster claws and tension.  Rebecca hit the ball out of the park in that regard.  (*note: Whatever Rebecca's feelings, I've outlined our correspondence regarding the issue here, and that based on what we were told and what she presented, I feel that Rebecca was given exactly the amount of time agreed up initially, and she made it clear to Jen that she was satisfied with that duration and that Friday was not necessary.  We didn't ask her to change her outfit during the performance based on her initial proposal or keep her confined to the #rank space.) One of the other tense parts of #rank began when Emily Auchincloss made her assertion near the end of her lecture on Post-Traumatic Art Disorder (PTAD) that relativism is not okay.  She argued passionately that there are fundamental truths that are right, no matter what your cultural background may be, and some truths are more important than others.  That is at once a radical and radically naive belief, and a brave assertion to make in light of the continuing debate over the removal of David Wjonarowicz's A Fire in My Belly (3) from the NPG by a Smithsonian Secretary bowing to pressure from the Catholic League(1).  This is a group that believes there should be NO public funding for art, ie  that the NPG should not exist in the first place, not just show what is agreeable to sensitive Catholics.  This is important beyond the clear case of censorship, because in effect, it highlights my disagreement with Emily's thesis.  I don't believe in God.  Therefore, the entire basis for the Catholic's argument is a metaphysical fallacy in my book, and my respect for the religious community stems more from the support and services it provides to people, not its relation to truth.  An important function of #class was to simply discuss the terms of critiquing the art world and its institutions like academia and the market.  During Emily's lecture and the ensuing critic's panel, we barely had time to engage in a discussion about relativism and essentialism.  Truth.  It's a subject humanity has been grappling with for a long time.  For me, there are things we know about the physical world through mathematics and science that can be falsified.  There is demonstrable evidence that the assertions can be proven false.  You can't disprove the existence of God, therefore it is a concept that is not falsifiable.  It is a matter of faith that gains power and acceptance through common agreement by people that there is a all-mighty, omnipresent entity.  Many people believe that Sara Palin should run for President.  They will say that what she says speaks common-sense truth.  There are also people who believe that color has a spiritual component.  I spent my time leading up to the opening of #rank making absurd generalizations about truth on my twitter feed.  People reacted in very different ways to statements like, all artists deserve to be recognized. It is a statement of opinion.  Most, if not all art, is a matter of opinion from what it means to how it is valued.  I can tell you that Jeff Koon's work is valued in the millions.  Is it true?  In the market it is priced that way and it bought and sold.  The statement works, but there is no essential value for Koons' work.  It is only the agreement between opinion of the buyer and seller that makes the statement work.  At auction, we see prices being set based on the opinions of the buyers competing to assert the highest possible value.  What makes Koons' work valuable in the most obvious, quantifiable terms is the opinion of the person with the most money.  If it was based on my opinion, the work would be worth about what it cost to fabricate it, so that the workers could get paid for their labor.  I don't think Koons deserves a penny.  What I am getting at here is that the value of Koons' work is relative to changing opinions, and that what we think is true, is generally based on a majority opinion or a minority opinion backed by a lot of wealth. So, we weren't able to debate structuralist thought with Emily, and the critics at the panel seemed a little flabbergasted by her assertion.  I don't think they knew what to make of the statement, like she was articulating some radical new philosophy coming out of France.  By the time they realized she was just expressing her own opinion about essentialism, the discussion was over.  What they did talk about though, was how relative their own opinions about art are based on their interests in different genres.  Paddy Johnson argued that she writes best about new media art, because she that is her area of expertise making her analysis of new media works stronger than that of other genres.  Hrag Vartanian talked about critics having 'beats' or areas of interest that they cover with special interest.  Hrag writes extensively about social media art and street art.  This is very different from the the Greenbergian model, where the critic's opinion defines the hierarchy of what art is important based on what they write about.  For Greenberg, the most important art was painting, and that opinion persists in the art world for a number of very practical reasons, but also Greenberg's powerful influence in defining 'truth' about Modern art, most of which has been discredited as essentialist reductionism and metaphysical quackery.  Emily's frustration with art criticism though also has to do with the bleeding of  opaque,  theoretical, academic discourse into the public practice of art criticism.  She identified some important points about reforming the practice of writing about art for both a general audience.  Basically, she would like art writing to be clear and direct, passionate, connected to the world, open to interpretation, and finally, humorous.  I've been ranting about Matt Taibbi's book Griftopia, precisely because Taibbi is doing all of these things about the economy and politics.  If we was writing about art, he would be my hero.  In fact, in support and contradiction of Emily's belief in truth I will quote Matt on the mumbo jumbo that is Ayn Rand's Objectivism
This belief in "objective reality" is what gives objectivists their characteristic dickish attitude: since they don't really believe that facts look different from different points of view, they don't feel the need to question themselves or look at things through the eyes of others.  Since being in tune with how things look to other people is a big part of that magical unspoken connection many people share called a sense of humor. the "metaphysics" of objectivism go a long way toward explaining why there has never in history been a funny objectivist. -Matt Taibbi, Griftopia page 41.(2)
The purpose of the above quote is that in the end, Emily is grappling with a paradox.  She wants definite, absolute meaning and she wants the humor and ambiguity that come from multiple perspectives.  It is possible to agree that things have more likely meanings in relation to the universe than others, but by the time we observe pretty much everything, we have fundamentally altered it in the act.  Shit happens, things change.  The world isn't flat, the sun doesn't revolve around us, and we don't breath ether.  Taibbi is basically arguing that people who have empathy for others can laugh and cry with them, when they look past their own fucking concerns.  It's not a radical concept, but hanging around with Tea Party members convinced Taibbi that he needed to write a book about how Objectivism and other solopsistic quasi-philosophies have fundamentally fucked most people's ability to empathize up to the point where they believe Sara Palin is right.  I am hopeful that Emily will recognize the paradoxes present in her desire to find meaning in the world.  I'm not going to stand around waiting for the truth to come down from the Mount or a critic's pen.  I'm going to engage in some productive persuasion, or what Emily Falvey called "bullshitting". I'm fine with that.  I just want to be more right than some asshole I disagree with. While Helen Allen is definitely not an asshole I totally disagree with, I felt like her presence at #rank was all the evidence that we needed that something is wrong with the big box art fair model.  In fact, Helen was the founder and director of PULSE until this spring when she resigned.  When I asked her why she walked away from the fair she created she simply said. "I didn't own it."  Helen is an incredibly diplomatic advocate for art fairs as both a business and exhibition model, but her statement about PULSE reveals a great deal without saying anything.  One, it says that she was not in control of the direction of the fair.  She couldn't execute her directorial vision because she did not have the final say, the owner did.  It also suggests that there was something wrong with the direction that fair was going, some of which we touched up in her discussion.  So, instead of continuing to fight to retain her original vision of PULSE, she left and has started a new model for the art fair called (E)MERGE based in Washington, DC.  The new fair will be different, focusing on non-profits, unrepresented artists, and commercial galleries with a strong educational component.  Helen talked about artists giving lectures about their work during shuttles from New York to Washington.  This is not business as usual, and Helen is using all of her experience and passion to re-focus collectors on what matters; the art and what it means, not how much it costs.  I think this in an incredibly admirable market-based solution to making the art fair more than a trade show.  I think this is exactly the kind of solution that Jen and I were hoping would come up at #rank in relation to the art fair context.  Helen is trying to create a smarter consumer who can trust their own opinions and judgments and not lean so heavily on reputation and auction returns. Still I can't let Helen or myself walk away from this discussion without mentioning some of the things that were disagreeable with PULSE and the current model of the fair, and why SEVEN was even happening as well. After  I participated in PULSE last year in Miami I was very critical of Schroeder Romero's decision to re-hang the booth after work had sold.  Michael Waugh's excellent drawing was taken down and replaced after it sold quickly. As an artist, this was a slap in the face, since we want our work to be seen by curators, critics, museum directors, and a broader audience than the one person with enough cash to buy it.  I understood the gallery was under immense financial pressure to do well, and I can't fault them for trying to sell art, but it came with at a cost; the visibility for Michael's work. (note: Sara Jo Romero reminded me that they did replace the large work with another smaller drawing and a print diptych by Michael.  I understand other work was seen by many visitors, but an artist I know I want my best work to be seen, especially when so much time has been invested.  I also don't want to single out Schroeder Romero, they didn't invent this practice and I know that they would have loved to keep the large drawing up for the duration of the fair.  I'm trying to highlight the way the expense of the fairs favor commerce over curation.  It's not a simple issue and I am speaking as an artist.) I think that the practice of swapping out work is fairly endemic, and Helen agreed that it was a concern at PULSE.  She noted that there was often a discrepancy between what projects the galleries proposed and what ended up in the booths during the course of the fair.  In order to succeed commerce often trumped curatorial excellence and visibility of work.  An art fair can be more than commerce. They can make important connections, and this year my work was seen by a museum director from Scottsdale and we are talking next week about a show she is curating.  To develop a lasting career as an artist, it is about developing connections with institutions that can bring the work to a broader public audience than art collectors.  I believe Helen understands this, and that is one of the reasons she left PULSE to pursue a different vision of the art fair than just as a trade show. It was excellent to have Helen as a guest at #rank, and she was a great ambassador for the art fairs.  She spent a lot of time arguing for the democratic possibilities the art fair model offers by bringing together so much art in one place, that it allows people to see art they ordinarily might have to travel internationally to see in person.  We talked about how they allow galleries to make sales that support their brick and mortar spaces, artists, and keep them in business.  The downside is that they are incredibly expensive to run and participate in leading to less risk-taking and more contingency.  While we all agreed that models like Volta allow for a singular vision and more curatorial control, they are also a much greater risk for the gallery.  If the artist does not go over commercially, there is nothing to swap out, nothing else to recoup costs with.  So the fairs are a gamble that galleries try to offset with different contingency strategies from blue-chip galleries showing secondary market work along side emerging stars to smaller galleries programming salons in their booths.  The problem here is that market pressures can lead to some unfortunate inbreeding, where dealers spot an artist whose work is selling out of gallery in another city, take them on and show them, but return to the next iteration of the fair and suddenly there are three galleries showing the same artists. I am an example of this myself.  Charlie James found my work at PULSE and now shows at PULSE as well.  This can lead to a kind of a homogeneity that is bad for art, a formulaic approach to selling art that doesn't reflect the broader, less commercially viable practices that also exist in the art world.  This is one of the reasons I am not content to make drawings for the art fairs and gallery exhibitions.  #rank is also part of my practice; critical self-examination of what it means to participate in the market.  Anyway, I really appreciated Helen's presence at #rank, but unfortunately, the hour flew by and we weren't really able to take the gloves off and really engage all of the problems/solutions that the art fair model poses.  I would like to have talked about the tensions and irony of participating in an alternative art fair setting populated by several galleries that previously had shown in PULSE.  I don't recall if any of them were present at the table, but I would've loved to have heard Ed's thoughts about SEVEN versus PULSE.  Till next time I suppose.  Helen has an open invitation to come to our #rank rehash or any #class related events in the future.  She is one of the most ardent supporters of art and artists' visions I have met in the commercial art world. Apparently, this reflection process is going to take a lot longer than I thought, and since there is no overarching arguement I am trying to make, I am going to publish it in sections.  I've only touched upon six of the events, and there is much more to be discussed.  To be continued... Footnotes: 1 Please read Tyler Green's excellent coverage of the Wjonarovicz debate on his blog Modern Art Notes. 2 Buy Matt Taibbi's Griftopia right now.  The link goes to Amazon, I don't care how you buy it, just get it. 3 PPOW Gallery has generously made the 4 minute version available on Vimeo. ]]>
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Feeling #rank (Part 1) http://www.hashtagclass.com/rank/feeling-rank-part-1/ http://www.hashtagclass.com/rank/feeling-rank-part-1/#comments Sat, 11 Dec 2010 16:16:25 +0000 http://www.hashtagclass.com/?p=171

Now that I am back home from Miami and have had a couple days to think about #rank, I am feeling rather that, just rank. Every year that I've gone to Miami, I leave feeling like I've lifted the curtain and stared at the great god Pan and learned some horrible truth about the universe. Normally, when an individual confronts the unknowable, they go insane. I always feel like I've lost my mind getting on the plane after witnessing the spectacle that is ABMB. Then, the ensuing year glazes over the awful feelings of self-loathing, disgust, inferiority, and well, shame, with a patina of hope that maybe it will be different this time. I find myself feeling vaguely optimistic each year as I confirm my flight in October. The hill doesn't look so bad, the boulder not so large. Once again, I am back in New York, in Bushwick, with my regrets. It is a particularly difficult decompression because there is far more at stake than my personal feelings of deep inadequacy and lack. During the fair week, The Smithsonian bowed to conservative pressure and pulled David Wojnarowicz's video A Fire in My Belly from the National Public Gallery's show "Hide/Seek", the United States Government declared war on the freedom of information inducing some more nationalist fervor, and President Obama caved on reducing the deficit by taxing the wealthiest Americans.  It was a trifecta of bad news regarding expression, information, and responsibility. Trying to think about those things amid the Miami party culture is normally impossible, but I was working with the amazing Jen Dalton on #rank in the corner of an art fair trying to manage a continuous series of events from 11am to 7 pm.  It was an overwhelming task where I became simultaneously enmeshed in logistics, appeasement, engagement, and escape.  There's nothing like managing two cellular wifi networks, streaming video, people's luggage, participants, a twitter feed, a collaborator, and the curious spectator to make a person lose their shit.  I wanted to hide in Mandies and get shit-faced.  I'm not sure I fought that impulse very well as Jen and I  were both knocking down cups of foamy beer by 2pm everyday, sometimes earlier.  I think we started leaning on the keg around noon after Emily Auchincloss's lecture on Post-Traumatic Art Disorder. The idea of including Andrew Ohanesian's bar, Mandie's (which had the simultaneous effect of ruining and saving us), was to disarm the audience with a casual atmosphere and get them talking.  The fundamental problem with #rank was there wasalmost no time to talk.  We programmed so many events into the day that we lost one of the elements that made #class such an interesting environment, which was the down time in transition when the audience stopped observing and started interacting with each other.  During #rank, the conversations took place on the periphery; in the bar, in the sightline of Steve Mumford's painting, on the sidewalk outside, everywhere except the space we hoped to carve out a conversation about people's overwhelming queasiness with the art fairs in Miami. With #rank I feel like we missed an opportunity to have the conversation that nearly everyone I know wants to have during fairs.  The conversation about how they measure themselves in relation to the art fairs and the vision of success it professes.  This feeling is not a reflection of what  the participants brought to #rank, they did a fucking awesome job under difficult circumstances.  No, we may have failed them in a very crucial way by asking them to present and perform in the corner of a commercial art fair.  Despite the admirable goal of the galleries in SEVEN to create a different atmosphere than the booth fairs, they still had the responsibility of selling art.  Going into the project, Jen and I understood we were being invited to provide some sort of disruption by design, but when it actually happened in the space, I felt like we had failed to provide the right kind of disruption.  Instead of being edgy, we were uncool, a little dirty, ragged, and embarrassing.  The looks of disdain that we received may have been unintentional or related to other concerns, but they were plain. The tension that #rank caused within the commercial environment was palpable, not that I would've had it any other way.  We weren't there to convince collectors to buy art.  The problem was the tension seemed to stem from the fact that #rank failed to engage most of the people who came to SEVEN.  Again, this isn't the fault of the participants, but of the context in which they participated.  During ABMB week there are a dizzying array of art fairs, collections, events, and of course, parties to attend at any given moment.  It is not uncommon for someone to spend the week going from one thing to another and STILL not feel like they saw or did enough. Jen and I were asking people to show up for specific events with set start and end times.  This may have been the single biggest miscalculation on our part, because we should have anticipated that the majority of people would get to SEVEN and #rank at any point in time.  Instead of experiencing interesting performances or actions, most people walked in during the middle of something with little or no idea why it was happening.  I feel like we were asking far too much of our potential audience, even people sympathetic to the project.  For those visitors simply looking to shop, I can't imagine what they thought of the circus.  Well, I do know.  Their expressions and lack of interest said it all.  I felt like a dirty goat in a petting zoo looking for a handful of oats. This is at the heart of the my own disappointment with #rank. I think we simply overestimated our importance based on the critical and public reception of #class at Winkleman Gallery where we became a destination and we did not have to compete for their attention in the space.  At SEVEN, we were just another thing on display that only a few people were making a destination in comparison to the rest of the fairgoers.  There were an estimated 46,000 visitors to Art Basel.  I can tell you, we didn't have that kind of attendance at SEVEN, and certainly a significantly smaller number actually knew what was going on in the corner being drowned out by the steady hum of the portable air-conditioning unit and generators just outside the garage door. I cannot emphasize the disruption that noise posed adding to the cacophony of  casual conversation taking place all around us (or the music pumping out Mandies. I felt like a giant asshole having to ask Andrew to keep it down.)  It made discussions difficult and distracted, performances hard to follow, and the streaming audio a muddle of sounds.  The streaming video was also dismal due to the poor reception our wifi card, generously donated by Michelle Vaugh and Felix Salmon, received inside the warehouse in Wynwood.  Between the poor audio and wretched video, our efforts to bring #rank out of Miami was a disaster.  That was coupled with our general inability to engage whatever twitter audience we may have had because we were busy  trying to cope with facilitation and management.  I have been a teacher for 11 years in Brooklyn and it was more difficult than any week of teaching I've ever had.  The pressure I felt was absurd to the point of ceasing to matter leading me to seal off my borders and retreat to the bar, to the sidewalk, to something approaching a casual denial of the entire event.  "Well, it's something!" I would mutter when asked, "How's it going?" Amid all of the difficulties, there were important ideas thrown out into the world for the audience to consider.  Unfortunately, aside from Maritza Ruiz Kim, Laura Issac, Peter Dobey, John Pyper, and a handful of other repeat viewers, the main audience for all the ideas was myself and Jen. The  accumulation of challenges, critiques, and ideas about art that became impossible to really think about in any meaningful way without time to discuss them, to process them with others, and reach any conclusions. I really feel like we ended up doing a disservice to some really meaningful events by not taking an hour for everyone to respond. By programming so many events, we did not allow enough time in between events to let people talk about what they had just seen.  I would have loved to follow Greg Allen's excellent lecture on the gala as art with an hour of discussion, but it was on to the next thing.  The reason why we programmed so many events had to do with something that Jen and I are not in total agreement on. When Ed Winkleman asked us to do #class in Miami, Jen and I decided we wanted to make the project specific to Miami and the art fairs.  #rank  grew out of our shared ambivalence about going to Miami and participating in the fairs.  We wanted to examine the hierarchies that persist in the art world, but are laid bare in Miami.  At that point, we were still modeling #rank on #class and we put out a call for proposals and set  a deadline.  After the deadline passed, we found we had twice as many proposals as we had two hour time slots for.  After some debate and misreading of each other's idea of what #rank was, Jen and I agreed  on one hour time slots and programmed everything, regardless of our individual judgments about the proposals. Why did this happen? First, when we were confronted with the possibility of  telling people we wouldn't be able to accommodate their proposals,  Jen made the convincing argument that #rank was not about gatekeeping when the fairs represent one layer of exclusivity after another.  The second reason  reason was very practical.  If we were going to accept any proposals, we had to do it fast to give time for participants to their book their flights and find accommodations in Miami, which gets increasingly expensive and difficult as the fair approaches.  Perhaps this rushed our decision and in some way we skipped an important and thorny discussion about the nature of what we were doing with #rank.  The third reason was my fault entirely.  I deferred to Jen despite my own doubts about having so many events because I didn't feel like I had contributed enough to both the organization of #class and #rank.  I reasoned that since Jen had organized all the proposals, responded to far more emails, and generally knew more about what we were saying yes to, I agreed to one-hour times slots and saying yes to everything.  In fact, I was the one who sent out all the happy emails saying "You're in!"  In retrospect, I should have been the asshole sending "You're out" to half the proposals, so that those who eventually would participate would have an hour to discuss their projects in relation to the questions Jen and I had about the art fairs.  What we bypassed in saying yes to everything was a discussion about we both wanted #rank to be.  I didn't just want it to be about saying yes to every proposal, but being a place where visitors might drop their guards and share their own perspectives with people from radically different backgrounds. It's worth noting that one of the things that refined #class was our constant 'debate' with Ed Winkleman and his partner Murat Orozobekov about the implications of our decisions.  By the time Jen and I announced our program to Ed and Murat, the invitations were already extended and plane tickets had been bought.  We did not have to make our case to them about what and why programmed for #rank because there was no turning back, and to do so would've undermined our agreement that #rank would not be exclusive.    While we thought we were prepared for whatever tensions, conflicts, and difficulties hourly events would pose in privileging access, I don't think Jen and I  really talked it through.  The schedule became increasingly important, and in effect the central premise of #rank as opposed to our initial inquiry, "What's wrong with hierarchies?  What's wrong with a week of art fairs and parties in Miami?"  We had crowded that out of the day. When I began to realize that we hadn't left enough time to talk about the events and the programming might be problematic, it was too late to make any changes.  We hoped that the discussions we programmed would allow for the kind of processing that defined #class.  Unfortunately, the discussions were also fraught for a number of reasons.  First, the discussions did not provide the time to address the central question "what's wrong with the fairs?" or reflect on the previous events.  They  had their own topics and felt somewhat disconnected from the events.   Secondly,  the environmental factors; noise, space, seating, petting zoo setting, but also our general state of bewilderment and stress made  hard to engage the discussions.   The casual, informal atmosphere that made #class discussions unique were transformed into something rather different.  During Christopher Ho's Regionalism as a Model discussion there was a Creative Capital party happening around us.  Chris took it in stride, but the focus that #class somehow allowed was missing.  Finally, there was the pressure of the strict hour limit and the feeling that we were performing, not talking.  We literally had an egg-timer ticking down and whatever may have organically grown became a race to make some point before the buzzer sounded.  Austin Thomas's discussion on Being a Legend in Your Own Mind felt like a competition to score points about recognition in front of some invisible audience or at worse to sound like whatever we were discussing was important.  It felt like we were on a stage with a disinterested audience.  I would not have been shocked at all if Ed had walked over with a note saying "talk about the art fairs." Unlike the Steve Martin debacle we were not in any position to offer refunds.  We were a loss leader for Winkleman Gallery and SEVEN, something novel to attract a broader audience than collectors and as John Lee said to me, "to make the fair a verb, not a noun," and provide something people could actively participate in. This is why I'm left feeling the project did not accomplish my goal.  The structure of #rank may have prevented more engagement with our central thesis than it allowed for.  Some projects resisted that.  Sean Naftel's free art stand gave away over 150 works including one triptych that will be donated to a major museum.  Andrew's bar was a microcosm of what I hoped #rank would be, a place where everyone could drop their guard for a moment and speak freely.  That was my hope and I maintained the belief that we could still provide that right up to the last hour of #rank.  I also hope that everyone who generously donated their time, money, passion, and art to #rank felt they were heard and that their ideas were received by the audience regardless of its size.  I reserve some anger for the dismissive glances of certain passerby, but also my own inability to give my full attention to every project.  Hindsight is a bitch in this case, and I realize belatedly that the circumstances in which we presented #rank were impractical. So, it's not easy to admit that #rank wasn't exactly what I had hoped it to be, but I won't concede that it was a failure. It was just something different, something closer to Jen's vision of inclusivity, process, experimentation, and a little chaos to subvert the expectations of what art fairs are.  Despite it's lack of time between events, I still feel like it was one possible answer to the question about what exactly are the alternatives to big box, commercial art fairs that force everyone to recognize that we do live in a society based on divisions of wealth, education, race, gender, and geography.  The one thing ABMB does the best is let everyone know EXACTLY what they are worth.  The fairs make notions of social mobility appear like quaint justifications for accepting how it is.  #rank was not for sale, it did not offer the usual transactional interaction with art objects in booths, and it was not easily grasped in a fifteen second drive-by.  It was messy, uncool, chaotic, and a little shabby, but it was also free.  Whatever #rank was, I am only disappointed that the we were unable to directly engage in discussion about the caste system proudly displayed in Miami.  More than anything, I wanted to take up Ben Davis on his radically obvious assertion that the art world is not apart from the world, that it is simply a microcosm of the rest of society, and that the art world's problems are not internal.  We live in a world of political, racial, gender and class divisions under the shared umbrella of bubble economies, speculation, collusion, economic disparity, and servitude we call the free market. In part 2, I will be reflecting on the projects, events, and lectures at #rank. "Artists are the elite of the servant class.” -Jasper Johns, via John Yau http://brooklynrail.org/2009/07/art/john-yau-with-phong-bui -@gregorg (thank you, sir)
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#Rank was… http://www.hashtagclass.com/rank/rank-was/ http://www.hashtagclass.com/rank/rank-was/#comments Sat, 11 Dec 2010 15:31:45 +0000 http://www.hashtagclass.com/?p=167

I have heard that, as an artist, if you're not uncomfortable you must be doing something wrong. Unless it's actually the opposite and if you are uncomfortable, you must be doing something wrong... I hope not. Because I have been realizing for awhile now that being uncomfortable is my natural state. But I have been feeling especially raw and anxious ever since #Rank began, and when #Rank ended that feeling has stayed. Bill's and my initial impetus for the #Class show was to examine our own and others' unease with the art market, and now I find I have a new unease to examine. Or perhaps it's all the same unease. In the lead-up to #Rank this fall, I was reading a mind-opening book that felt very relevant to our project: “Girls to the Front – The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution,” by Sara Marcus. I was in my early 20s when Riot Grrrl had its moment, in the early 1990s, and as a young feminist I was critical of the movement at that time. I saw all the bands play who were considered part of that scene, and I felt that their blatant displays of sexuality (flashing the crowd, etc.) undercut their feminist message. I also thought it was hypocritical that they made a show of dismissing the whole male half of the species, while simultaneously dating and baiting men. Marcus's book does not dispute either of these points, but it made me realize how much I missed of what Riot Grrrl was about. It was a feminist activist movement devoted to making a safe space for women and girls in a hostile music scene and an even more hostile world. To the extent that I felt I didn't need that space, it was at least in part because I had been luckier than most. Anyway, reading Marcus's book I found a lot inspiration from the Riot Grrrls for #Rank. First of all, these writers and musicians were attempting to combine their art and their activism as Bill and I have been attempting to do with these projects. And the self-described Riot Grrrls cared much more about being honest and letting their freak flags fly than they did about being or looking cool. And most inspirational, over and over again, in zines and interviews Marcus quotes, I saw the way that these young women consciously decided to take creative risks in their music, their writing and their lives, long before they felt secure in their work or themselves, and to try to be comfortable learning as they went along, in public. “The writers weren't pretending to have all the answers; they were making visible a process of figuring things out.” … “'They claimed the space to be wrong'” [a participant remembers]... “'and I found that to be very powerful intellectually.'” I know it was just an art show, but #Rank felt fairly high-risk, for Winkleman and the other Seven galleries, for Bill and me, and for all the #Rank participants who gave generously of their time, money & efforts to participate in Miami or from elsewhere. We are so grateful to everyone who joined us to help make this weird thing happen. Bill and I felt enormous responsibilities on the one hand to our hosts at Winkleman and Seven and on the other hand to our participants. In the weeks leading up to #Rank, Bill and I made many decisions intuitively, forging ahead before we had things truly figured out, trusting that at the very least things would get interesting. Our time frame didn't give us much of an option to do it any other way (we were officially offered the forum in mid-to-late September and everyone needed sufficient advance notice to make travel plans), but also it seemed to be in the spirit of the project to wing it--in the smartest possible way. But I still wonder if we did right by everyone who was so generous with us. We had several semi-articulated goals with #Rank. Here's my initial self-evaluation on what we achieved. 1. We wanted to create a rift in the art-fair space-time continuum, to disrupt and challenge the expectations that visitors to art fairs walk in with. Expressed colloquially, we wanted to fuck with people, but gently enough that they wouldn't close their minds to what we might be saying. I think we did well on this front. 2. We wanted to create a non-hierarchical space that gave a platform to a lot of people who didn't already have one at the fairs to mount weird and interesting events that challenged the premises of the fairs and their environment. Bill's and my mantra has been, ever since #Class, "THIS is not THAT." I think we and all our participants kicked ass at creating something that was not THAT. 3. We wanted to use the atmosphere we created through the setting and projects to foster honest and unguarded group discussions that could go deep enough to examine the problems of the fair and/or market system and perhaps even propose alternatives to it. But we didn't schedule enough time for the discussions to make good on this goal. Bill has accurately described how that happened. I made the argument to him that #Rank would be a stronger project if 1) we didn't curate (that's what the fairs do, to exclusionary, safe and boring effect!) and 2) we didn't have any down time in the space, because most visitors would only come by once and I didn't want them to encounter dead space. Bill initially agreed (for reasons more complicated than I understood at the time), but shortly thereafter began lamenting that we would pay a price for this in our discussions. I feared he was right, but fought to salvage the situation by scheduling some really interesting discussions with really smart people in the time that we still had. Although every discussion we hosted at #Rank went into fascinating territory, we didn't have enough time for participants (including us) to relax and open up after the initial explorations of our topics, and the fair atmosphere was too loud and distracting for people outside our table (or sometimes those sitting at it!) to hear what was going on. Also, crucially I think, Ed Winkleman and Murat Orozobekov, whose points of view were integral to many of the #class discussions, were performing their other gallery duties. And Bill and I were never able to get past the terrified, anxious state of hosting in unfamiliar territory and managing the logistical aspects of the events to be really great discussion participants. However, although we are no longer in Miami we can still try to remedy this. We are planning to host an evening discussion at Winkleman Gallery while people's memories are still fresh to explore some of the topics we were only able to graze in Miami. This discussion will be open to all who can come, whether or not they were in Miami. There will be no time limit. We'll try to make it possible for those outside NYC to participate remotely in some capacity. Date TBD. To be continued.... ]]>
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Art Road Show by Alan Lupiani http://www.hashtagclass.com/rank/art-road-show-by-alan-lupiani/ http://www.hashtagclass.com/rank/art-road-show-by-alan-lupiani/#comments Thu, 18 Nov 2010 19:40:25 +0000 http://www.hashtagclass.com/?p=163

Art Road Show is a spin off of the popular Antiques Road Show.  The host of Art Road Show, Alan Lupiani, will pair up local artists with art fair insiders, including art dealers, curators, and writers, for a five minute critique of the artist's work.  The objective is to engage the highly diverse local arts community in Miami Beach, many of whom may not have a designated role/purpose at the various fairs, and to provide an access point by connecting these artists with an “art insider” who does have a role. The goal will be to create a greater awareness and deeper understanding of the sociocultural boundaries that exist between the local Miami art scene and the international art world that makes Miami its home for the duration of Art Basel Miami Beach. Donate to the Kickstarter fundraiser here! ]]>
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Hug it Out by Rebecca Goyette http://www.hashtagclass.com/rank/hug-it-out-by-rebecca-goyette/ http://www.hashtagclass.com/rank/hug-it-out-by-rebecca-goyette/#respond Thu, 18 Nov 2010 19:38:53 +0000 http://www.hashtagclass.com/?p=161

Rebecca Goyette, performative artist, will present "Hug it Out." ]]>
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#artist/dayjob# by Tara Fracalossi and Thomas Lail http://www.hashtagclass.com/rank/artistdayjob-by-tara-fracalossi-and-thomas-lail/ http://www.hashtagclass.com/rank/artistdayjob-by-tara-fracalossi-and-thomas-lail/#comments Wed, 17 Nov 2010 02:38:26 +0000 http://www.hashtagclass.com/?p=160

#Rank Miami examines the (c)overt class and ranking systems surrounding the Miami art fairs. In the expressly commerce-based bubble of the Miami art fairs, artists’ ranks might be established/defined in relation to gallery representation and/or the need to maintain a dayjob to support themselves and their families. For artists who must work outside the studio to bring home the tofu, the type of job and how long they’ve maintained it becomes a sort of sub-classification/ranking, defining a position within the larger social and economic strata. Are the more desirable/impressive jobs art-related, in-field or academic? Does this ranking system draw and quarter us based on the perceptions and realities of our day to day duties and responsibilities? #artist/dayjob# seeks to explore this ranking system through the simple sociological tool of the self-survey. Four questions: How many years have you been an artist? What kind of artist are you? What’s your dayjob? How many years have you done it? #artist/dayjob# These questions seem so simple. They are the foundations of common cocktail chat, yet, to the sensitive and informed inquisitor, they reveal the speaker’s standing-- earned or not-- in the larger milieu of the commercial art world and the culture. Take the survey at www.artistdayjob.blogspot.com ]]>
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Being Grantee (About Grants & Grantmaking) http://www.hashtagclass.com/uncategorized/being-grantee-about-grants-grantmaking/ http://www.hashtagclass.com/uncategorized/being-grantee-about-grants-grantmaking/#respond Sun, 14 Nov 2010 21:09:29 +0000 http://www.hashtagclass.com/?p=158

A free-ranging discussion about grants for artists - how and why they are given - with Sean Elwood, the Director of Artist Programs for Creative Capital Foundation in New York. Creative Capital is a national nonprofit organization that provides integrated financial and advisory support to artists pursuing adventurous projects in five disciplines: Emerging Fields, Film/Video, Innovative Literature, and Performing and Visual Arts. Working in long-term partnership with artists, Creative Capital’s support combines funding, counsel and career development services to enable a project’s success and foster sustainable practices for its grantees. Don't worry if this sounds a little conservative, there may soul-searching and sock puppets. ]]>
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